Rick’s funeral was on Saturday.
My friend Rick.
For some time I’ve wondered how I’ll get along without him. Rick of the last 18 months was so sick. It’s selfish for me to want him back. Still.
When I cam home from the funeral, there was a package waiting for me from my publishing house.
One of my daughters wanted to open it, so I let her.
And inside was a letter from the Junior Library Guild saying MESSENGER ‘has been awarded the designation, “A Junior Library Guild Selection” for our fall 2016 span.’ They sent along a lapel pin and a certificate, too.
A lapel pin!
I thought, “Rick. Rick, did you have something to do with this arriving today?”
He and I told each other when we sold books. Sort of casually.
“Oh, I sold a book to Candlewick,” he’d say again. And again. And again.
“Of course,” I’d say. “I’m so proud you.” I’d cheer and tell him he was a genius.
He knew he was a genius. But he loved for me to cheer for him and tell him how wonderful he was. I loved that job. Telling him that I loved him and that he was wonderful.
Ha! Good ol’ Rick.
He was so prolific that he had an average of four books a year all the while we knew each other.
I was going to say this at the funeral but forgot.
Once, early in our friendship, Rick called me and said, “Hey, a bunch of people wanted to see my office. You wanna join everyone?”
Are you kidding? “Sure,” I said. I couldn’t wait for the tour.
All these years later, I remember walking around Rick’s home office. There were piles of books and bookshelves of books and a desk and pens and papers and lists. I thought, “This office looks like my office. There’s nothing that amazing here.”
Years later I realized it was Rick the Genius who made that office rock. He would have written all those books, and published them, had he had to write in a car (he did), at a school (he did), in writers group (he did), at church (he did), on a walk (he did) on a drive (he did), in the middle of a sentence talking to someone (he did)–you get the picture.
Rick was what was amazing in that office.
He didn’t get to see my latest novel MESSENGER. But I choose to believe Rick will watch over my career now. That will make it easier to go through the days because I will miss him.
I will miss him.